Friday, May 31, 2013

2 for the weekend and doors of the month - May 2013

Encourage your child to try a new instrument with the Charleston Academy of Music this Friday, May 31st. Choose from the cello or clarinet, or try both with great teachers to guide them. Located at 189 Rutledge Avenue, downtown. The session runs from 3:30-5:30pm. Contact CAM to register at (click here) or call (843) 805-7794 and Stephanie will set you up. FREE!

Check out these great weekend events for the family through Piccolo Spoleto at Hampton Park

And lastly, a look at where the month of May took us...

"It's opener, out there, in the wide, open air."
-Dr. Seuss, Oh the Places You'll Go! 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Pluff Mud Kids People: Sweet Caroline and Birdie

Good morning, Caroline. This one's for you!

The thing I love about the format of a blog is that you can tell a story with pictures alone. The expressions, colors and tone, and life in the pictures often call for just a few words to add to the story. Thank you, Reagan Woods for these beautiful photos of last Thursday's sea turtle release at the Isle of Palms courtesy the hard working caregivers at the SC Aquarium.  Meet Caroline, friend of the sea turtles...

Sweet Caroline got to escort her new friend Birdie back to his natural home...

One of 5 healthy turtles in this first release of 2013...

pmk- What was the most exciting thing about releasing the turtle?
Caroline - "The turtle had his legs out like he wanted to fly!"

pmk - Were you happy or sad to see the turtle go?
Caroline - "I was sort of sad because I might not see it anymore."

pmk - What was the best part of the day?
Caroline - "The best part was getting my picture taken with Birdie!"

Nice work, Caroline! I'm sure Birdie will always remember you!

click here for a link to the SC Aquarium's great blog

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

blue bicycle books

The thing about Blue Bicycle Books is it has a great vibe. Pluff Mud Kid's Nanna gives it two thumbs up, as do I and my children. This little bookshop on King St. in downtown Charleston offers cozy reading rooms... one for you,

one for your little ones...

rare and used books and a resident cat...

The owner, Jonathan Sanchez, a Yale graduate and a writer and author himself, offers a superb summer writing workshop for children. The age range for this series of camps is grades 3-12 and they are located at Blue Bicycle Books, The Circular Church downtown, and Christ Our King Church in Mt. Pleasant. Check availability at When I spoke with Jonathan Sanchez about the camp, I learned that all the workshops are lead by professional writers and is now in it's 11th year. A fantastic way to keep creative minds alive during the summer months!

Blue Bicycle Books
420 King St.
Charleston, SC
click here for all the details
On street meter parking all along King St.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

spoleto sand castles

We are right on the cusp of plunging head first into summer. The weather's perfect and the pools are open. Grab a shovel this weekend and head to the Isle of Palms...

Piccolo Spoleto Sand Sculpting Competition
25th Anniversary
Front beach, Isle of Palms
June 1st, 9am - 12noon

Thursday, May 23, 2013

3 more for the weekend

There are a lot of reasons to find yourself downtown this weekend and you may be in need of a pit stop. Did you know Caviar and Bananas is celebrating 5 years and offering a special $5 menu through the month of May? 

The whole family can find something incredible to eat at this cool deli. $5 menu here

While you're downtown, check out the Piccolo Spoleto  Children's Festival (free) at Marion Square on Saturday, May 25th from 10am-3pm featuring the Seed and Feed Marching Abominable band from Georgia...

Also at Marion Square on Memorial Day May 27th (free), hang out with your little ones and enjoy the marching band concert from 3-4:30pm (offered by Piccolo Spoleto)

Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend!

Piccolo Spoleto this weekend- for kids, by kids

Recently, we enjoyed the Creative Spark Center For The Arts play 'Hansel and Gretel' (pictured above). I was so impressed with this great musical theater for kids and we loved sitting on the floor right in front of the stage to really feel a part of the action. This weekend, as part of Piccolo Spoleto, Creative Spark presents 'Jack and the Beanstalk'.

Creative Spark Center For The Arts
757 Long Point Rd., Mt. Pleasant, SC
55 minutes, $11 at the door, $13 in advance
May 24, 31 at 7pm; May 25, June 1 at 1pm; May 26, June 2 at 3pm
for details visit creative spark

There's a great free concert this Sunday evening with some of our local young musicians playing their hearts out! It's a great way to start the Spoleto season.

Piccolo Spoleto Young Performers Series featuring Charleston Academy of Music students
Sunday, May 26th, 6:30pm
Second Presbyterian Church
342 Meeting Street, downtown Charleston
(free) click here for map

Charleston Explorers

Thank you to PMK reader Kristen for this great summer pick!

Step 1: Go to the Charleston Visitors Center click here for all visitor center locations. Go to the information desk and get checked into the Charleston Explorers club. You will receive a beach bucket and cool passport for each child.

Step 2: Go and explore great Charleston area attractions (see the link below for all the details and listed sites) and get your passport stamped at each location. Log in your discoveries to win prizes!

Step 3: Admire your collection of cool stamps and the record of your summer wanderings!

Step 4: Fill your bucket!

For a list of all the great attractions to visit click here

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Extra! Extra! The turtles are coming!

(*photo courtesy the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Hospital)

The first 2013 sea turtle release is tomorrow, May 23rd at 4:00pm at the IOP beachfront.
click here for all the details and to view the sea turtle hospital's great blog!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Charleston Currents - May 2013


The birds and the bees ... and conservanciesBy LEIGH SABINE, contributing editor
Special to Charleston Currents

MAY 20, 2013 -- This spring has brought us continuous encounters with birds and butterflies with the added attraction of an in-school bee hive installation.
Nature-walking throughout this month is a great way to quiet the hubbub of the daily routine and hush idle chatter as your children sneak up and observe closely their winged friends before they take flight.
Our recent journeys have provided us with a clear record of the best Lowcountry spots for viewing birds and butterflies. The lists that follow enable you and your family to head straight to the action and plan a great weekend walk. Don't forget your camera! [If you find that your favorite bird or butterfly observation spot has been left off the list, please email Pluff Mud Kidsand we will check it out!]
For Bird Observation
The Audubon Swamp: Named for John James Audubon, the painter and naturalist, this 60-acre swamp land is located just inside the gates of Magnolia Plantation and is a 30-minute drive from Mount Pleasant. This lush habitat is a mix of cypress and tupelo trees, marshy bogs, boardwalks and native foliage. We love this swamp for the cool shade it provides in late spring and summer and for the opportunity to view varieties of birds up close . You will see egrets and herons nesting side by side, crows, woodpeckers, warblers and our favorite little Carolina chickadees. This is a wonderful, manageable short hike for children of all ages and stroller friendly too!
Brookgreen Garden Aviary: This aviary is our top pick for zooming in close with birds in a natural setting. Children delight in spending time inside an actual bird cage! The knowledgeable staff feed the birds and give child-friendly information while you study the birds, take pictures and linger a while in this very special habitat.
Caw Caw Interpretive Center: With more than miles of trails to choose from, every time you visit this site is a brand new experience. You can see rare species of birds here such as kites and eagles while absorbing the history of the tea and rice crops that were once grown here.
The Pitt Street Bridge in the Old Village, Mount Pleasant: Walking, picnicking or kayaking this area is best in the early morning sun or on a cool spring evening for bird watching as it is a natural habitat teaming with pelicans, songbirds and other marsh birds. Stand at the end of the bridge to view more protected land directly across the water on Sullivan's Island, courtesy of the efforts of the Mount Pleasant Land Conservancy.
Observation Tower at Palmetto County Park: Kids love this bird's eye view complete with a viewfinder! The sweeping marsh and Intracoastal waterway are a bird watcher's paradise and you will enjoy a cool breeze at the top.
The Birds of Prey Center: Your best bet for viewing birds in flight. The flight shows are daily at 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Allow at least two to three hours here to cover all the site and take the informative tour at 10:30 a.m. or 2 p.m. with the incredible staff here who are happy to patiently answer your children's questions.
For Bee Study
Check out our friends over at The Bee Cause who are working hard to install working bee hives in 1,000 schools! Read more on Pluff Mud Kids blog post.
For Butterfly Observation
Marsh View Trail and Butterfly Garden: This property represents another Mount Pleasant Land Conservancy effort to protect and preserve our environment through a community based garden project and marsh trail.
EdVenture's Blooming Butterflies: This 2,500 square foot butterfly house is located within the interactive children's museum in Columbia. You can devote an entire day to include time for the butterfly garden, making it well worth the trek from Charleston.
Cannon Park: This lovely green space and garden area in the heart of downtown Charleston is a picture perfect spot for seeing butterflies land on their favorite types of specially planted flowers provided by the Charleston Parks Conservancy.

Writer Leigh Sabine of Mount Pleasant offers a monthly look at fun activities for Lowcountry kids. It's based on her great blog, PluffMudKids. Check it out.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Bee Cause

"Honeybees are truly amazing creatures to watch, and an observation hive allows students to see day-to-day activities within the hive without disrupting the bees."
- The Bee Cause

(*this photo courtesy Tami Enright of The Bee Cause. All other photos courtesy Olivia Rae James Photography)

An active, working beehive inside the heart of a school? It's a radical concept that is taking our area by storm, thanks to the efforts of a non-profit organization called The Bee Cause. Their mission is to install observation bee hives in 1,000 schools. I love the idea of students learning so much from something that doesn't have to be plugged in and impacts the environment around them.

Through the combined energy and know-how of Ted Dennard, Master beekeeper and the Founder of The Bee Cause and President and Owner of Savannah Bee Company, and Tami Enright, Executive Director of The Bee Cause and a local area beekeeper, a bee hive is artfully installed on a school interior wall or table top and the lessons on beekeeping begin. I first met the lovely Tami a few years ago when she had just started beekeeping and her enthusiasm for it compelled me to research the plight of the honey bee. In doing so, I discovered more people in our local area involved in private bee keeping. Tami has come a long way in her efforts to help educate her children on the subject of the benefits of beekeeping and now, many more children can easily reap the rewards with their own school hives.

The Bee Cause installs the beehives into schools in Charleston at no cost. The duo came up with the additional activity for students of a "pay it forward" program that enables students to take responsibility for the ongoing care of their bees as well as help to raise funds for the next hive to be delivered to another interested school (or schools). In this way, the children learn to pass along the joy of beekeeping and hive ownership. More details on how this "pay it forward" program works are provided on The Bee Cause website listed below.

This tube permits the bees to travel in and out of the hive to pollinate plants and flowers in the local environment and gather nectar for the hive. It's such a simple and effective design - truly a work of art!

Any questions? Don't worry, I had a lot of questions too (as did my twin boys and their school friends pictured above) and they can all be answered on The Bee Cause cool website listed below. For more information on beekeeping, Tami suggested visiting the Charleston Area Beekeeper's Association site " In addition, Charlestowne Landing also has an observation hive for public viewing," says Tami. "I can help organize a hive for a house or other spot to anyone interested in beekeeping by providing guidance and vendor information." Sounds like I need to take the leap and give her a call, how about you?

To help "save the bees one school at a time", contact The Bee Cause, or learn more about this incredible project, please visit

For a link to posts about Charlestowne Landing, click here for post 1 and click here for post 2

pmk thanks Olivia Rae James photography and The Bee Cause for sharing these great pictures.

Friday, May 17, 2013

foiled - Landsford Canals, Spring (Part II)

This past weekend we took a getaway beyond the border, but stopped along the way to witness the bloom of the much talked about spider lilies at Landsford Canal State Park. These rocky shoals lilies are famed for their magnificent bloom here on the Catawba River and we have wanted to catch it for years, the peak bloom time being May and June.  We were foiled by the tons of rain they've had  which swelled the river beyond it's banks and all the lilies were submerged! We expected to see thousands of these...

but we were greeted instead by...

and near enough white water rapids! This was the "gentle water viewing spot"...


We met other folks from Charleston with giant camera lenses poised and ready to capture the beauty with sad expressions and loose plans for a purposed return trip when the waters subside. We did enjoy a great 2 mile walk on the nature trail and along the canals...

We also encountered this guy... anyone know what type of snake this is?

There are new picnic tables with grills since we were here in the fall and it's a great fishing spot...

The park here is nice and shady too...

There is another great chance to visit soon and see those elusive spider lilies right from the water with the Spider Lily Eco tour on May 25th, 2013. Take your own kayak or rent one and paddle through the lilies. For all the details click here.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Charleston Academy of Music sample classes

Has your child been longing to try an instrument? Don't happen to have a flute, clarinet, or cello laying around? Now's your chance to let your child try out one of these instruments to see if it feels like the right fit. If my boys were just starting out, this is just the sort of opportunity that I would grab. Before you commit to lessons, let your child really explore their options...

This Friday, May 15th CAM is offering FREE sample classes in flute and clarinet with the assistance of one-on-one teachers. These lessons are available to adults and children. Friday, May 31st is the cello workshop and both sessions (15th and 31st) are from 3:30 - 5:30pm. For more information and to reserve a specific time, call (843) 805-7794 or email

Click here for more information about the Charleston Academy of Music.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

this land is our land

    photo by Kylie Sabine photography

Where are you on the subject of land conservation? As Mt. Pleasant and the surrounding areas grow and development slowly spreads outwards and upwards, do you think much about the impact on the shorelines we all love? I don't know about you, but the shorelines are what hold me captive and I love every bit of our beaches as well as the marsh areas. We at Pluff Mud Kids are particularly partial to the marsh and it's seasonal shifts in color and the constant curtain it provides to wildlife seeking refuge. Pluff Mud Kids and the Mount Pleasant Land Conservancy are teaming together to support the cause of further protection for area shorelines and green spaces. It became personal to this blog when we realized how many of the MPLC protected properties we have come to appreciate in local excursions. One such property is near and dear to us...

Long ago, the old Pitt Street Bridge used to stretch across and connect to Sullivan's Island. Today the bridge on the Mt Pleasant side is still sound and serves as a look out point for pelicans. You can visit the bridge from that side and appreciate the revitalization of the area...

What about the land over yonder on the Sullivan's Island side?

Thanks to the Mt Pleasant Land Conservancy, it too is preserved. In May of 2012, the MPLC secured the .48 acre property at Station 9, permitting access to the public and offering a protected natural habitat. This area is an ideal spot to kayak from, and as I mentioned in yesterday's post, we are grateful  for the protection of wildlife throughout this marshy "back beach" end of Sullivan's Island.

By providing conservation easements, permanent deed restrictions, land donations and small landowner programs, the Mount Pleasant Land Conservancy seeks to protect and preserve land in our local area forever. I look forward to bringing you more images from these unique properties to highlight the efforts of the Mt Pleasant Land Conservancy.


To learn more about the Mount Pleasant Land Conservancy click here. Their website provides a great list of all the properties they have acquired to date. The Mount Pleasant Land Conservancy is a 501c(3) non-profit land trust that relies on community support and contributions from supporters to maintain and "preserve the places you live and love". 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

bird watching near the Pitt St Bridge

The marsh area around the Pitt St Bridge in the Old Village of Mt. Pleasant is an excellent spot for bird watching with children because you are almost guaranteed to see some sort of bird or two on any given day.

Whether walking the bridge or viewing from the water...

Bird watching along the Pitt Street Bridge
Old Village, Mt. Pleasant SC
For information, reviews, and a map click here
pmk tips- there are water fountains here along the bridge and free parking. There are no other amenities. This is a great place to walk your dog and a prime spot for fishing. To run, bike, or scooter, it is exactly 3 miles from here straight up Pitt St. to the Pitt St. Bakery and back.